COVID-19 claims life of MPD chaplain

The Rev. Don Crider Sr., a Morristown Police Department chaplain, died Wednesday morning after a battle with COVID-19.

Crider was a member at The City of Refuge Baptist Church. Don was former pastor of Goin’s Chapel Baptist Church in Sneedville and Eastwood Baptist Church in Morristown. He was a veteran of the United States Army.

“The city mourns the loss of Chaplain Don Crider who passed away today,” the MPD said in an official statement. “Don, whose call sign was Chaplain 5, was a devoted servant to the community for almost 20 years with the Morristown Police Department. He received his police chaplain certification through the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Chaplain Crider was very dedicated to the officers of the MPD and their families. He rode alongside the officers, participated in devotion services and even performed wedding ceremonies during his time with us.”

MPD Chief Roger Overholt said Crider will be missed.

“Don’s family is in our thoughts and prayers,” Overholt said. “His presence at the department and the service that he provided will be greatly missed. Don was a comforting presence within our ranks and was always ready to give encouragement to everyone. He truly had the heart of a servant.”

In his obituary, Crider’s family stressed the importance of taking the virus seriously.

The Law Enforcement Chaplain of the Lakeway Area also released a statement, mourning the loss of Crider.

“Our community lost a great servant today. Don Crider - pastor, evangelist, and chaplain - passed away from COVID-19, leaving behind a grieving family and numerous friends. We will remember him for his fervent Christian testimony, his love for people, his winsome laughter, and a heart devoted to the officers of the Morristown Police Department,” the group said in a statement.

“Very saddened to learn of the Rev. Crider’s passing,” Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney said. “Don and Thelma and their family and their church families through the years has made a very positive impact on the community and his service through the police department’s chaplains was an example of his servant’s heart.”

Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain expressed “heartfelt sorrow” for Crider’s friends, family and co-workers.

“He was a well-respected clergy-man who served the community well,” he said. “My thoughts are with his family.”

See page 5 for full obituary information.